NAUGATUCK — Taylor Campos, the Naugatuck Greyhounds’ junior center midfielder, has been playing for the AFC Academic soccer travel team over the past few summer seasons under James Luis, the head coach at Cheshire High.
She recently was selected to play for the U-17 Olympic Development Team for AFC that begins this spring. Taylor will also be playing for the U-19 AFC team coached by Tony Horta.
“We were looking to take some of the better players at the 17-18-year old bracket and move them up to the U-19 and Taylor certainly fit that role,” Horta said. “She is a hard-working midfielder who can wins balls, and I have seen the change in her game where she not only plays the physical end of it, she can also read the plays and know when to create opportunities.”
Taylor has also played for the Naugatuck U-16 travel team coached by her father, Joe Campos, that won the Southern District Championship this summer. Being a two-sport athlete at Naugatuck (soccer and basketball) gives her a diverse skill set that makes her a player to watch in the upcoming Naugatuck Valley League soccer season.
The AFC Olympic Development Team is committed to finding players of the highest caliber on a continuing and consistent basis, which will lead to increased success for the U.S. national teams in the international arena.
“I have been playing a lot of years for coach Luis on the travel team,” Campos said. “To get an opportunity like this to play up a few levels at U-19 for coach Horta and to play for the Olympic Development team is an honor. I played for my dad with the Naugatuck travel team as well and he has been my inspiration all while I was growing up. I have always been taught to accept the challenge. The challenge you take today will make you a better player tomorrow and I have lived by that motto.”
The U.S. Youth Soccer Olympic Development Program was formed in 1977 to identify a pool of players in each age group from which a national team will be selected for international competition.
“She will find a nice niche in the game that will allow her to extend her playing career another four years while she attends college,” Horta said. “She has shown the ability to put an all-out effort on the field of play, making her a good defender as well as a playmaker at midfield.”
Campos was an integral part of the Greyhounds’ run at a fourth straight NVL championship game appearance in her freshman year, shutting down a potent Woodland squad in a 1-0 penalty kick victory in the semifinals.
That run ended last season when Naugatuck was knocked out in the semifinals but Campos was a big part of the 10-6-1 campaign as a center midfielder for the ‘Hounds.
“Playing at this level will no doubt make me a better player and I certainly accept the challenge,” Campos said. “I know I will be exposed to college coaches along the way and that is the ultimate goal. I can’t wait for the high school season to begin. We have a very talented group of girls this year and I’m looking forward to challenging for an NVL title and a state championship.”